Woman nearing sixty, and still trying to get it right. Stumbling the path toward the Divine. Discussing things like grandchildren, Waldorf education, dogs, aging parents, empty-nesting, and knitting luscious things once in awhile.
I've been in an ongoing dialogue with Mike defining someome's best. He opened the conversation by asking me a couple of weeks ago if I thought anyone really did their best. He went onto say that he sees two people in his life that actually do their best: Brooke and Shannon. I disagreed telling him that many people do their best. That I strive everyday to do my best. To that, he lifted one eyebrow and looked at me sideways. (I did my best not to punch him.) Sometimes he's an ass.
My point of view is that doing ones best really has an intrinsic guage. Even if you don't measure up in someone elses eyes, you very possibly have done your best. For some it is climbing Everest. For others, its simply getting out of bed in the morning. It's accompanied with a warmth inside your body that bespeaks true satisfaction, a feeling of accomplishment. No one else can know if that feeling exists or not.
I know there are times when I lag, don't do my best, and try to take responsibility for it and do it again, right. And I don't feel good about it. But to the naked eye it looks petty good. But other times it may look as if not much was done and I have worked my absolute hardest. Sometimes I shine and feel my best and hear words from others that validate my internal guage. It's true that sometimes I really don't give a you-know-what and choose not to do my best. But bottom line, only I really know.
When I was little and we lived down the Peninsula, Russian River was our summer vacation. It was a destination that felt as if we had traveled. And what I remember was a big white, Casa Blanca-ish cabin with a double bed on the sunporch. And eating vanilla wafers while sitting on that bed. And relatives galore. And so many card games. And walking down a shaded dirt road in the evening with the whole gang to play pee wee golf. And that's it. So I must have been 5 or thereabouts.
On the 4th of July we made a day trip to the river where Satchel and Temple tried to catch mini fish with paper cups and floated along the water in a paddle boat. A long, quiet, leisurely day. Does this say it all, or what?
No matter if you travel a long distance or make it a day trip, the final destination is family time, and rest, and love at its purest. The calendar has turned 624 pages and the pleasure of a family enjoying a day at the river still feels exactly the same.
I'm often presented with things like this and find myself in a quandry. Mom wants to do things for us, still. But she's old, and physically weak. Thing is, she wants to still participate in life, and I so want to support this. Until she gets pissed off.
Like yesterday, I took her out for a ride with me. I had errands to do so she rode along fo some fresh air. Then we got a hamburger and went to the stawberry patch. When we got back to her house around 5, I sat in her recliner and put my feet up. She hates it when we leave abruptly, so I figured I'd sit and watch the news with her and check on the weather for the weekend. While I was sitting and chatting the subject became my t-shirt: and wasn't it just too hot to be wearing? I don't know if it was criticism or concern, or both, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt. This then progressed into the work week coming up and what I was going to wear. I really hadn't thought about it, with the knowing that I wear clean, comfortable, practical, simple when I work as a nanny.
So she brought up "those nice cotton blouses you wear". Good idea I told her. And then she went on to ask me not once, but four times if I would please bring them over and let her wash and iron them for me ove the weekend: "It'll give me something to do."
And so, the dilemma. I can just see her caretakers coming in to find her hunched over the ironing board with walker close by, while it's 100 degrees outside, and her telling them she was ironing for her daughter...SIGH....
Is this elder abuse? Is there such a thing as Elder Labor Laws? Will APS be knocking at my door because Mom's caregivers walked in when she was in one of her bitchy moods and turned the whole story around? Will I be sent to prison and be made to work in the prison laundry until I die?
I really don't need her to iron my blouses at all. But she asked so nicely, so earnestly. I could feel her need to be needed tug at my heart. I just don't know what to do. She is a doodle (anyone know which movie this word comes from?) for 88 years old.
If only the sweet part of her personality could be depended upon.
Whenever I'm gone from the blog you can bet your sweet bippy that something monumental (such a relative term) is going on. Well it's a new day. Stress is moving on out.
Stressing because the job market was so tough, I gave up my house and Camille and I moved into The Man Cave this week. I gave notice to my landlord and helped her find new renters. Packed up my life yet-once-again- and prepared for another move. And then, voila. I found an amazing job that I will begin on July 5th. More on that in another post. As a peek, here are a couple photos taken from where I'll be working:
This was the job I really wanted through the agency, a complicated situation that took some time to manifest. So actually, maybe I should have trusted that the Universe had some finagaling to do to line things up in perfect order for the outcome I really wanted.
And right now here I sit, in my sunny room that smells of lavender, amidst a lot of muskiness, at the doorway of a holiday weekend. I have to say, to hear both of my sons welcoming me into their home was beyond joyful to my mama heart. Name that Musk? My housemates? Zak, Alex(my sons), Mike (my pseudo-husband), Beachball (the dog) and Canoe (the cat). They all have testicles. They all do love me but this will be temporary. I should have planned on this soft landing when I left Chicago. But I love my autonomy and I just never imagined that I wouldn't have a job within a week or two. That's never happened to me in my life.
May I introduce The Man Cave as seen through my camera lense.
Home....Home. Yes, the Sweet is missing. Wait. Camille and I are the Sweet.